Skip to main content

LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 | Racial Justice | Election 2020

More Military Families Using Food Stamps To Make Ends Meet

Photo credit: Defense Commissary Agency

Military Food Stamp graph

More military families are using food stamps to purchase basic staples like milk and bread, according to CNN.

Service members and their spouses redeemed almost $104 million worth of food stamps at base commissaries in fiscal year 2013.

The use of food stamps by military families has been on the upswing since 2008. (See graph from the Defense Commissary Agency above.)

One reason may be that more military families were able to qualify for food stamps during the Great Recession, when some states lowered the amount of money a family could earn and still get assistance - as Joyce Raezer, executive director of the National Military Family Association, explained to

"It was easier for some of those families right on the cusp to qualify."

Unemployment and underemployment among military spouses could be another reason for the increase in food stamp usage.

The 2013 Military Spouse Employment report found that service members' wives in the 18-24 age range had 30 percent unemployment rates.

Military spouses told the survey they both wanted and needed to work...

However, active duty military spouses are more likely to have moved within states, across states, and abroad, compared to their civilian and veteran counterparts.

The increased likelihood of moving from one geographic location to another further compounds economic issues for these families.

Still, Thomas Greer of Operation Homefront said he was surprised by the number of military families depending on assistance:

"I'm amazed, but there's a very real need."


San Diego News Matters podcast branding

KPBS' daily news podcast covering local politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings so you can listen on your morning commute.

  • Need help keeping up with the news that matters most? Get the day's top news — ranging from local to international — straight to your inbox each weekday morning.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Curious San Diego banner

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.